As leaders, it is critical we embrace opportunities to recognize our team for a job well done. Too often, we fail to positively reinforce our people for their hard work and miss a chance to celebrate the results. Highlighting successes also can strengthen bonds and relationships within a team, so let’s make sure we do this!
Leadership Principle #3: Be Accountable
An important leadership characteristic involves being accountable, or taking responsibility, for the results of your organization. Your team members need to know they can count on you for such a responsibility. President Harry Truman had a sign on his desk, “The Buck Stops Here”. As leaders, it is imperative we embrace accountability for the effectiveness and overall health of the organization we are charged to serve.
Leadership Principle #2: Empower Them!
Leadership Principle #1: Build Trust
The Value of Distributed Leadership
Did You Know?…
Geese have much to teach us about leadership! Specifically, distributed leadership. When the lead bird flying point begins to tire, it rotates out of formation. Another bird then takes its place at the front. That way, all of the geese share a portion of the work while preventing one goose from becoming exhausted.
As a leader, is there someone on your team you could provide an opportunity to lead? To take on more responsibility? To grow? I want to challenge you to consider making such a move. You may find that it proved to be a worthwhile investment both to increase the capacity of an individual, as well as improve the quality of your organization.
How is Your Work-Life Balance?
If you are feeling like too much mental and physical energy is being exerted at work, you are not alone. Some of my clients tell me they come home at the end of the day feeling as though they gave their best to their job and are only able to give what’s left over to the people and activities they care about most.
I help many of my clients to recalibrate how they make decisions about how they invest themselves in their professional and personal lives so they can regain the balance they want in both realms. The solutions for them usually take the form time management, organization, mindset, values, or some combination.
If you are finding yourself in a position of wanting to do something different but need some new skills and perspectives to do so, I invite you to contact me for a complimentary design session via my website link below:
Reimagine Success Coaching
5 Top Leadership Characteristics
5 Top Leadership Characteristics
What are the elements that comprise an effective leader? While there may not be universal agreement on what those qualities are, I believe the following characteristics are at or near the top of the list more often than not. For many years, I worked in the education field as a teacher and principal in multiple public and private school systems. I also earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in educational leadership. Now, I own my own professional coaching and consulting business and offer my clients leadership development services, as many people are interested in improving their skills in this area of their professional and personal lives. These qualities are based on my work and experience in these fields over time.
1) Lead by Example
People want to know their supervisor, team captain, or CEO is willing to roll up their sleeves and get into the trenches with them. What kind of imagery is evoked toward someone who “rules in an ivory tower”, rarely leaves his office, or asks others to do things she is not willing to do herself? Does it inspire people to go the extra mile, or merely do enough to get by? How does it effect organizational culture, climate, and sense of teamwork? Conversely, what kinds of thoughts do you have toward someone who was intentional about lending a hand to make the load lighter for you or assist in a pinch? A true leader not only talks the talk but, more importantly, walks the walk. As the saying goes, talk is cheap. What are you doing to show your people they matter to you? What actions are you taking to come alongside those you work, play, and live with?
Most of us naturally want to be genuinely listened to, and our input honestly considered. It is a sign not only of professional respect, but wisdom as well for a leader to garner feedback from those around her. As a principal, I knew I was not completely knowledgable about the pedagogy of teaching 8th grade science (I taught history as a teacher), nor was I an expert in Special Education. I needed to trust (see #3) my people in those areas to do their jobs in a proficient manner while I teamed with them to ensure they had the resources and support to run their departments well. As leaders, it is critical we (when appropriate) delegate and defer responsibilities to others for the long-term viability of the organization. Otherwise, people at the top who attempt to filter everything through themselves find they are on an inevitable path to burnout while sacrificing the potential of the company, school, or team.
Typically, organizations that thrive also experience high levels of trust. How do effective leaders build that trust? Slowly. Methodically. Genuinely. One person at a time, one day at a time. One fundamental, primary ingredient that must be present in trust-building is how people must know you are a safe person. What I mean by that, is how others need to believe you care about them and care about the team above yourself. Think for a moment about someone who was in a position of authority who, at his core, was only out for himself. Could others detect that? If so, how did it influence how they did their jobs? Most significantly, how did it impact the organization? Nothing will erode trust faster than a “gotcha” mentality in which people feel as though they need to protect themselves from an individual who is out to leverage herself at the expense of those to whom she has been entrusted. However, when strong cords of trust have been layered over time your people will experience the freedom to take risks and fully apply themselves toward their role within the group.
4) Be Vulnerable
This can be a tough one to display (especially for us men!). However, it is a beautiful vehicle to create connection and convey empathy. It could be a simple statement such as, “This is awkward and difficult for me” during a challenging conversation. As leaders, our instinct is usually to attempt to hide such thoughts. However, what we don’t often stop to realize is that chances are, people are already aware of them. Sharing our vulnerability allows for us to show authenticity, which can also lead to trust-building. As you may be noticing, many of these traits overlap and are interrelated. A common misconception is that showing vulnerability conveys weakness. I believe this is only true when combined with shortcomings related to job performance. For example, if a supervisor were to share with those who report to her she doesn’t feel competent to effectively fulfill the role of her position that would not be showing vulnerability. More than likely, it would be revealing a lack of knowledge or skill. However, this is rare. I encourage you to be strong enough to (occasionally) show weakness, which leads us to #5…
5) Be Courageous
Scott Turow is credited with the quote, “Courage is not the absence of fear but the ability to carry on with dignity in spite of it”. There are times when leaders need to be seen out front during times of uncertainty, regardless of any accompanying fear. You don’t need to try and hide your anxiety (see #4), but I also wouldn’t recommend allowing it to overcome you. Inherently, people take comfort in knowing someone is in charge and there are times when leaders must step into that void and fill that role. If other leadership characteristics have been demonstrated over time, chances are people will rally around that and show support because they know you are only human and doing your best to lead them.
In closing, I believe leadership characteristics can be learned and improved, and the five qualities I have covered are skills that are transferrable. If you would like to expand your leadership capabilities with a trained, certificated, and professional coach I invite you to contact me for a complimentary 30-minute design session.
Chuck Sheron, AELC
Reimagine Success Coaching, LLC
Why Do Leaders Hire An Executive Coach?
Why Do Leaders Hire an Executive Coach?
Ever wonder why business leaders and other professionals hire executive coaches? The reasons are many, and corporate, non-profit, and church boards, CEOs, and business owners are investing in their employees at a skyrocketing rate. Here are some reasons why…
1) To Develop Leadership Skills
The mark of a great leader is not to create followers, but to empower and grow leadership capabilities in others. We all started somewhere. Who took the time and resources to invest in you? People are realizing the necessity of recognizing potential in their workforce and providing them with the skills and tools they need to take the next step in their professional and personal growth. Sometimes this takes the form of investing in a newly-promoted manager to increase the likelihood she will be successful. Perhaps the prerequisite abilities are present in this individual, but she needs to broaden her skillset in order to effectively address the demands of the new position.
2) To Improve and Refine
This often takes place prior to, during, or following a performance review. There are areas in need of addressing, and you want to support your people in providing them with every opportunity to hit the mark. Examples of such areas may include: organizational, communication, interpersonal, and time management skills. Additionally, newly-promoted leaders sometimes need assistance in transitioning to think and process in a new capacity, particularly if that individual now has people reporting to her.
3) To Help Resolve Interpersonal Issues with Other Employees
Sometimes an individual’s personality, communication style, body language, and leadership style can rub others the wrong way. By addressing the behaviors and empowering the employee to make changes from a strengths-based approach, your emerging leader can improve his own effectiveness, as well as the effectiveness of your other employees. A highly trained, quality executive coach utilizes various tools and exercises to accomplish this, such as Assumptions, Empathy, Powerful Relationships, Bird’s-Eye-View, and Perspectives.
4) To Document Investments and Interventions Taken
Often an executive wants to be able to show the person she reports to, whether to an individual or to a board, how she is taking steps to invest in a particular employee. Sometimes this is connected to an executive’s own performance review, and she wants to be able to point to how she is committed to improving the overall quality of the organization. When you can present to your supervisor(s) how your direct actions positively impacted an individual within the organization, perhaps even achieving one of your own goals in the process, that bodes well for everyone.
5) It’s Lonely at the Top
Of course, leaders themselves seek out the services of executive coaches. When in a position of influence and authority, it can be difficult – and even unwise – to confide in those who report to you. Vulnerability is a key leadership characteristic. However, you want to limit that vulnerability to appropriate, strategic times. Your own personal and professional growth is usually not one of those times. Leaders find it invigorating to learn and grow with another professional within the confines of a safe, confidential coach-client relationship.
Today, business and organizational leaders are looking for an edge that can distinguish themselves from their competition. Many are finding the value provided by executive coaching is well worth the investment, as the payoff results in increased productivity, improved climate and culture, and expanded leadership capacities. If you would like to explore a relationship with a trained, certificated, and high-quality executive coach I invite you to contact me for a complimentary 30-minute design session.
Executive Leadership and Career Coach
Reimagine Success Coaching